Charles Bocage

Charles Bocage was a banjoist who played with Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra, one of the most popular bands in New Orleans in the 1920s.  Charles was born in New Orleans in 1900.  He passed away Nov. 4th, 1963.

Mama’s Gone, Goodbye 1923 (

Pirons New Orleans Orchestra

Charles Bocage with Piron's New Orleans Orchestra

Peter Bocage, Charles’ brother was a trumpeter in the band. Peter wrote Bouncing Around with Armand Piron.
Piron's New Orleans Orchestra

Piron's New Orleans Orchestra


You can here Charles and Piron singing on “Kiss Me Sweet” (


Johnny St. Cyr, another famous banjoist also played for a short time with Piron’s orchestra while the Bocage’s were playing a country club job with another band:

Piron had a job at the Country Club evenings from two ’til six. Four strings, guitar, bass, banjo, violin and piano. Before that time he had Peter Bocage, plus Charles Bocage, who could sing. Charles learned to play the banjo on the job with help from Pete. Before Piron got the job at the Country Club, Lorenzo Tio, Jr., had hired the Bocage’s. He had Pete and Charles Bocage playing out at West End on Sunday afternoons. So I played that job with Piron at the Country Club for about three weeks, Saturdays and Sundays. About the fourth week Tio lost his job, and Piron came to me and said, ‘John, I’ll have to let you go. Tio lost the job out there, and I must take Pete and Charles back with me, and I can’t use you as you are not a member of the regular band.’ ‘Suppose you tell him (C. Bocage) I owe you some money?’ I said. Piron answered, ‘I couldn’t make him understand that.’ I said, ‘O.K. you stood responsible for getting me back in the Union, and I still owe you $12.00 — when you give me a job, I’ll pay you back.’ He (Piron) had me up before the Board, so I told them, ‘Well, the conditions were that I was to work with him Saturday and Sunday afternoons and pay him S4.00 a week, until I’d paid the whole amount, which was $24.00. I worked three weeks and I paid S12.00, but he let me out and took someone else and I can’t pay him if I don’t work. The Vice-Chairman of the Board said, ‘Piron, return the man to work until he pays you.’ But Piron had no jobs, except for the regular band on Saturdays and Sundays. It was then that I went back to my plastering trade and worked around New Orleans.”


Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: